VOD film review: A Good Day to Die Hard
James R | On 28, Dec 2013
Director: John Moore
Cast: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch
Watch Die Hard 5 online in the UK: Disney+ / TalkTalk TV / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Rakuten TV / Google Play
Do the laundry. Sort out your tax return. Go for a walk. These are activities for which there is a good day. Die Hard is not one of them. “A Good Day to Die Hard”? It’s a sentence that means nothing. But it turns out that this nonsensical jumble of noises is a perfect fit for the latest sequel in the Bruce Willis franchise: a bland, forgettable title for a bland, forgettable film.
There isn’t even a plot to speak of. John McClane (Willis) goes to Russia to help his arrested son, undercover-CIA-operative Jack (Courtney), and some stuff happens. Most of that stuff involves helicopters and guns, wielded by Russians, who, for some reason, are not very nice.
Pausing to explain the goings-on to his elderly father, Jack mumbles a few buzzwords, like nuclear and politics. John nods. “Scumbags,” he says, reducing the whole of Skip Woods’s screenplay down to a single adjective. You can easily think of a few others.
That’s part of the problem too. Watered down for a younger audience (although the extended edition is available on blinkbox and iTunes), McClane’s dialogue is limited to three phrases: “Jesus”, “scumbag” and “I’m on vacation”. Each one appears at least four times. None of them sound like they belong in a Die Hard movie.
Of course, this is what John Moore’s movie is meant to be. It’s writ large in big letters on the posters and DVD covers. And Moore can handle action well enough – an opening car chase that lasts 15 minutes is a properly thrilling piece of automotive carnage, with cameras positioned just so things can smash into them. We even get some semi-believable family banter. But the rest of the movie just descends into a pile of dull action cliches; three big set pieces rushed together with no clear villain or plot. When two of those scenes involve helicopters, you feel Die Hard 5 is starting to run out of ideas.
“I could’ve been a dancer,” says one bad guy, hopping around in a suit. He has nothing to do with the rest of the film. Even worse, neither do McClane and his boy: the stakes for them are wiped out halfway through.
“Let’s go home,” says McClane, as Skip’s script shoves in some awkward father-son bonding. Unfortunately, he’s joking. This awkward attempt at humour and emotion is so poorly edited, it sticks out like hair on Bruce’s head. Willis and the young Jai Courtney make for an passable duo, but there’s no depth here, no laughs, no sense of peril. A trip to Sainsbury’s is more exciting.
A Good Day to Die Hard is available on Disney+ UK, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription or a £79.99 yearly subscription.